European Commission blocks Austrian regulator from favouring national broadcaster

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KommAustria forced to withdraw plans for regulation of the wholesale market for analogue terrestrial radio broadcasting transmission in Austria.


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The European Commission investigated Austria’s broadcasting regulator KommAustria for two months after Vienna’s communications watchdog proposed an unchanged set of regulations that would exclude from the regulated market the supply for radio transmission services by the main operator (ORS) to the national broadcaster (ORF).

If implemented, the ORF would receive a different service that the Commission said is better than the competitors’ service and would be offered at an adjusted price, which is illegal according to EU telecom rules.

The ORF would also have access to ORS’ broadcasting masts, putting the national radio broadcaster at an unfair advantage.

The Commission wants Austria to change the way telecoms are regulated, but doesn’t believe KommAustria’s plan would significantly alter the playing field. Unlike other markets, Austria’s analogue radio broadcasting market has not seen any new advances or competition. This is due to the popularity of car radios.

The Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications backed the Commission’s findings that KommAustria’s plans do not align with EU telecom rules, saying it agrees with the former’s decision to block KommAustria’s proposal.

The European Commission told New Europe that KommAustria has been given three working days to respond to the ruling and to present the Commission with an amended market analysis within six months.

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